18th c. Hannah Pocket Embroidery Design

A new 18th c. pocket is joining the Romantic Recollections line. The Hannah pocket embroidery design is dated to 1718-20 and is named after the young lady who embroidered it, Hanna Haines. The original pocket is in the collection of the V&A Museum, and details can be found on the VADS Pockets of History page.

The original pocket is embroidered in backstitch with yellow silk thread on linen fabric. A closeup of the thread looks like it is a thick, multi-stranded silk thread sewn with very small stitches.

One of my first decisions was which thread to use. For machine embroidery, you can have fine silk and tiny stitches, or thicker threads and larger stitches. A thicker thread provides the same impact as the original, and allows you to use 12 weight cotton or wool threads.

Hannah pocket embroidery design in silk Hannah pocket embroidery design in cotton Hannah pocket embroidery design in wool

Test swatches of 50 wt silk, 12 wt cotton, and 12 wt wool threads.

This is a fairly small pocket, suggesting it was made for a girl rather than a woman. So that led to a second decision – child size or adult size? For now, I’m releasing the adult size, but will release the child size as well, if there is interest.

The description of the original pocket says the opening is “hemmed and topstitched.” The pictures aren’t clear enough to make out the details, but you can see a few threads whipstitched along the opening, with more threads reinforcing the bottom of the slit. I can’t tell if the slit was turned inwards and topstitched, or if the topstitching is merely decorative.

I’m choosing to modernize the finish slightly, by adding a second layer of fabric to create a facing. Burda Style has a great tutorial for a slit facing here. Once you topstitch the opening, this should be a very sturdy finish that reduces the need for hand finishing while also protecting the back of the embroidery.

The outer edge of the pocket is also topstitched through all layers. I suspect this encloses all the raw edges, creating a clean finish inside the pocket.

The top is finished with a long length of narrow linen tape. The tape is folded to bind the top edge, then released at the sides to use as waist ties.

I’m offering 10 Hannah pockets as special order items. I no longer offer custom orders, so this is a one-time chance to order a pocket already embroidered and sewn. These pockets are stitched in wool thread on linen, backed with cotton fabric, and bound with linen or cotton tape.


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